Research development falls under the science industry umbrella and encompasses a range of basic and applied research activities, aimed at identifying solutions to problems or creating new products, processes, services or knowledge. Research development, therefore, brings innovation to organisations to improve their market position.
Australia’s research and development industry is internationally respected and performs well compared to highly developed countries around the world. As a country, we spend approximately 2% of GDP on the sector, which employs eight people for every 1,000 workers.
Graduate jobs can be found in a range of industries, including healthcare, education, defence, biotechnology, chemicals, construction, business, government, media, pharmaceuticals, software, transportation, telecommunications and not-for-profit. Higher education employs over 62% of workers in the research development sector, while private business employs 25%.
To work in the research development field, graduates will need a degree in a discipline related to the area of research they want to work in, such as engineering, science or technology, as well as good academic results. For some positions, companies may require postgraduate qualifications such as a Master’s or PhD.
The responsibilities assigned to graduates will vary depending on the field of research they work in, however, most graduates will begin working within a project team, receiving training from senior researchers.
Graduates working in research development can earn big paychecks, with average starting salaries of around $71,000 per annum.
The top three regions in Australia employing research development graduates are NSW, Victoria and Queensland.
Graduates working in research and development can follow a number of career paths to work in a variety of different jobs including:
The competition for grants, scholarships and jobs are intense due to a lack of funding, which leads to limited positions and heavier workloads. It is difficult for graduate or junior researchers to get grants without the presence of senior researchers on the project team.
Job certainty is a major concern in the research development industry, with many companies relying on short-term contracts to employ workers. As a result, research development positions generally only enjoy three to four years of job stability.